Incident 170: Target Suggested Maternity-Related Advertisements to a Teenage Girl's Home, Allegedly Correctly Predicting Her Pregnancy via Algorithm

Description: Target recommended maternity-related items to a family in Atlanta via ads, allegedly predicting their teenage daughter’s pregnancy before her father did, although critics have called into question the predictability of the algorithm and the authenticity of its claims.


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Alleged: Target developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed Target customers.

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Sean McGregor, Khoa Lam


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.

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